On September 13th, the senior Vessel Operations class went on a site visit to Hornblower’s yacht Serenity. We went on a tour session that encompassed the Upper New York Bay. On that tour session, us students were allowed to explore the boat and it’s crew members, which we happily took advantage of. Overall it was a pleasant ride that I would love to do again, maybe on one of Hornblower’s other yachts.
This summer was my first real maritime job at Classic Harbor Line as a Line Catcher. Sure it was a straight forward job and I had internships with the school working on the boats before, but it’s not the same thing. Working with a support system behind you is so much easier then striking out alone. Walking on to the dock on my first day was nerve wrecking. I didn’t know what to except and my hands were trembling so hard that I had to focus on getting them to stop shaking before I could focus on anything else. Thankfully the more I handled lines, the more the nervousness slipped away and a familiar routine took place. While working, I learned a clear understanding of how responsible and alert you have to be in whatever path you choose. I’m very appreciative that I was able to have this opportunity.
With my straight khaki pants on and my white polo shirt tucked in tight.
My job wasn’t hard I said ” I know just what to do”,
but I learned more about the Rhythm of Line then what I previously thought I knew.
It’s the quick thump the line makes as it hits my hands,
the swift eights I draw around the cleat, the hitch I pull in tight, just right.
It’s the gate I open when I’m done,
the wait I wait for,
For boats to come.
So that when the Rhythm of Line starts again it doesn’t really end,
Till I can tie then tie again.
City air tastes different from rural country air. There is a a certain heaviness that comes with city air. Maybe it’s the cloud of pollution that lingers or maybe it’s due to the lack of vegetation. The water is the same way. Here in the city it’s green, sometimes yellow and gross. The water at Fisher’s Island was crisp and salty. There was no undercurrent of the rotting, toxic waste smell that the harbor maintains.
As we revved through the the calm water towards the oyster farm I couldn’t help feeling more awake then I’ve ever felt before. This was truly an amazing opportunity to expand my knowledge. We practiced pivot turns––backing up and maneuvering in tight spaces.
We docked, aware of what the current and wind were doing as we approached at a 45 degree angle, learning that it’s just as important to watch the scuba divers in the water as it is to secure the boat. Nothing was rushed and every step was thought through until the plan was clear as the water was when I reached down and grazed my hand on it’s surface. The oyster cages were even visible underwater! It is a place I hope to see again.
Sailing has been around for thousands of years. On boats there are bound to be accidents, storms and tragedies so it’s only a given that these unusual superstitions exist. These are ten of the most unusual superstitions, some which are severely outdated.
- Whistling On Board Is A Big No: Sailors have long believed that whistling or singing into the wind will bring a storm.
- The Shark: A shark following the ship is a sign of unavoidable death.
- No Gingers Allowed: Gingers were thought to bring bad luck to a ship if you happened to meet one before boarding the ship. But if you talked to one before they talked to you you were saved.
- Eat your Banana Somewhere Else: Bananas have been associated bring bad luck on ships, since the 1700s when most of the ships that disappeared were carrying bananas as cargo.
- Egg shells: Egg shells had to be broken into tiny pieces once an egg was used. This meant to prevent witches from coming to the ship to sail in the pieces of shell.
- No Women: Women were bad luck on board because they were considered a distraction to the crew, which would anger the sea. Conveniently, naked women had the opposite effect, calming the sea, which is why so many figureheads were women with bare breasts.
- No Grooming: Anyone who trimmed their nails, cut their hair or shaved their beard on ship brought bad luck to the ship.
- Feet: Flat-footed people were unlucky on board a ship, and were also avoided by sailors before they boarded just like Gingers.
- Don’t Save a Drowning Person: Sailors believed that if someone was saved from drowning, the ocean would follow them until they swallowed them bringing the crew and ship along.
- Green: Sailors thought that painting a boat green would ensure it would run aground.
The Sheet Bend
The Sheet Bend also know as the Weavers Knot is used to tie to lines of unequal size together; the thicker line used as the bite. But it also works equally well on lines of the same size and material.
How to Tie the Sheet Bend :
Form a loop with the thicker line 1 , pass the end of the other line 2 under through the loop.
Then pass line 2 around the loop and then back under itself.
Pull all four ends to tighten.
The Square knot
The Square Knot ( Reef knot) is a simple binding knot that is good for securing less crucial items. It’s generally used to tie objects together. But sailors use it for reefing, furling sails, etc.
How to Tie the Square Knot:
Take the ends of the line(s) cross the left end over the right (order can be reversed R/L). Then wrap it around the other side.
Cross the right end over left (reversed L/R) and then wrap it around the other side.
Now just just take both ends and tighten.
The Figure-Eight Knot
The Figure-Eight (Flemish Knot) is a type of stopper Knot. It is used to prevent line from sliding and is easily undone although it is reliable.
How to Tie a Figure 8:
Pass the end of the line over itself to form a loop.
Then pass the end around itself and pull it through the loop.